Robert Spencer, director of the hate site Jihad Watch, has been steamed by the arguments of certain individuals and groups who have protested against the killing of Anwar Awlaki, such as the ACLU, Rep. Ron Paul, and writer Glenn Greenwald.
He says the following:
Perhaps the ACLU, CAIR, Greenwald and Paul would have been satisfied if we had airlifted an elite corps of defense attorneys into Yemen, along with a couple of cops to read al-Awlaki his Miranda rights and give him a chance to lawyer up. Along with them, CNN could have sent all the equipment necessary to set up a satellite feed, so that al-Awlaki could have been given an international platform to spread his message of anti-Americanism, hatred and Islamic jihad.
Then everyone would have been satisfied that the rights of this stalwart American citizen had been respected, and al-Awlaki himself could have had time to ensure that his efforts to murder innocent Americans in the name of Islam would go on unimpeded if he were convicted and imprisoned for a long stretch.
What all these statements fail to take into account is that we are at war, and that this war is different from all wars that have gone before it. Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen, yes. He was also a traitor. He was waging war against his native country. He was an enemy combatant. If an American citizen had gone to Germany and joined the Wehrmacht in 1942, and was killed in battle against American forces, would anyone have been raising “constitutional issues” over the killing?
Al-Awlaki was on the battlefield of this war when he was sitting at his computer exchanging e-mails with the Fort Hood jihad mass murderer, Nidal Hasan , or working out the details of the plot to blow up American cargo planes last year. Thus American forces were perfectly justified, legally and morally, to take him out in such a setting, without sending him a lawyer or reading him his rights or spending a few million dollars to give him a global forum to air his views.
As the nature of warfare has changed, so must also our response to it. Al-Awlaki was not a cat burglar assassinated by rogue cops. His killing is not a violation of anyone’s civil rights. That this question has even been raised is indicative of just how thick the fog of ignorance still remains about the nature of the conflict we’re in, who it is exactly that we’re fighting, and what precisely we should do about it.
The short answers: This is an Islamic jihad. Al-Awlaki was a jihadist, dedicated to killing Americans. He got what was coming to him.
Well then, it’s very simple, you see. President Obama, or anyone in government, can say so-and-so is a terrorist and voila! That person should be deemed an existential threat to the United States and be killed without any due process of law.
First, Spencer says that Awlaki was a traitor. He may very well have been a traitor, but we have constitutional provisions that handle this issue in Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. But if it were up to Spencer then the President or someone else in government could simply declare someone a traitor and have that person’s life taken away.
I find this logic by Spencer very illustrating not because of how mainstream this type of warped thinking is in the U.S. amongst the political punditry, but because of the hypocrisy he shows when it’s a Muslim country that does the same thing.
Recently Iran declared one of its citizens, Yusef Nadarkhani, an apostate and, as Spencer’s hate site reports it, has now dropped that charge and replaced it with a charge of treason. The same charge Spencer throws at Awlaki. Iran declares one of its citizens to be a traitor without any evidence and Spencer is there to protest against this. But the United States declares one its citizens to be a terrorist without a shred of proof offered and Spencer is smiling at the prospect at the death of the accused.
Don’t expect Spencer to catch the contradiction there.
Second, Spencer said that Awlaki was waging war. How does he know that? Because the U.S. government says so.
But didn’t the Iranian government say that Yusef Nadarkhani was a traitor? Why not believe them, too? I’m sure they have secret evidence as well.
In all seriousness, the situation with Nadarkhani should make Spencer pause and think about the implications of what he is saying about Awlaki and how it can affect civil rights in America. Instead of lusting for blood, if Spencer cared at all about civil rights he would be concerned about the abuse or potential abuse that Obama’s decision to kill Awlaki could have in the future.
But evidence doesn’t matter to Spencer – except when it’s an evil Muslim country that is attempting to punish its citizens without due process. Spencer just eats up whatever proof the U.S. government gives him – even when that proof is admittedly weak.
The Obama administration has not made public an accounting of the classified evidence that Awlaki was operationally involved in planning terrorist attacks.
But officials acknowledged that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki’s hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy.
Officials said at the time the United States had voice intercepts involving a phone known to have been used by Awlaki and someone who they believed, but were not positive, was Abdulmutallab.
The proof the U.S. is offering is not even of the “full proof” variety. It’s “patchy” and they’re admittedly not even “positive” it was Awlaki who was allegedly giving instructions to another person to commit a terrorist operation.
But for Spencer, and other fake patriots like him, whatever accusations the government hurls at someone are holy, while any attempts to examine the accusations of the government are met by hostile resistance from such fake patriots. Spencer and the fake patriots care little about the Constitution, but are more concerned with killing people who haven’t been proven guilty of any crime.
Look at Spencer jumping out of his seat to show this “proof” to his readers that Awlaki was a criminal:
Here is more evidence that al-Awlaki was an enemy combatant — a commander in a new kind of war.
And then Spencer offers this damning evidence:
The Homeland Security/FBI bulletin, obtained by Fox News, specifically says Awlaki, an influential new-generation figure in Al Qeada, showed the suspected Christmas Day bomber how to detonate the bomb he is accused of hiding in his underwear….
See! Homeland Security said that Awlaki taught the underwear bomber how to detonate the bomb he hid in his underwear! Never mind that this “evidence” offered by Homeland Security and Spencer is simply an accusation. Also never mind that the accused underwear bomber himself, who is not even a U.S. citizen, is getting his day in court, while Awlaki – who was a U.S. citizen and had no opportunity to defend himself against the accusations made against him – had a missile fired at him from a drone that ultimately killed him.
This is how constitutional freedoms die. They die at the hands of fools who wrap themselves in the flag, while they simultaneously smash the essence of the country they claim to be fighting for because they are cowards.